Good health depends on getting the right balance of nutrients. The bulk of your diet, called macronutrients, is composed of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Along with these macronutrients, a range of vitamins and minerals are necessary for optimal health. Biotin, also called vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that your body doesn’t store it. It’s found in foods like egg yolks, leafy greens, nuts, cheese, legumes, and organ meats. Along with other complex B vitamins, biotin is necessary for metabolizing fats and carbs and benefits the body in a host of other ways. It’s recommended that adults get 30 micrograms (mcg) daily. Infants should get 5 mcg, and pregnant women need 35 mcg.
The following situations can deplete the body’s supply of biotin:
- Chronic smoking
- Heavy alcohol
- A diet high in processed foods
- Crohn’s disease
- Liver disease
- Drinking health shakes containing raw egg
If you aren’t getting adequate biotin, the problem can manifest symptoms such as cracking on the sides of the mouth, dry eyes, scaly skin, hair loss, and depression. Fortunately, supplements are available. Make sure you’re getting the following seven health benefits of biotin.
1. Supports Metabolism
Biotin functions as a co-enzyme to break down protein, carbs, and fats. As these macronutrients get broken down, the process raises your resting metabolic rate. Taking it along with chromium picolinate can accelerate this reaction even further. Paired with a healthy diet and exercise, biotin may help you reach your weight loss goal.
2. Strengthens Nails
Brittle, weak nails that split or crack easily are quite common, affecting about 20 percent of the population. According to the experts at https://www.patchmd.com/benefits-of-biotin.html, biotin can help thicken cuticles for growing longer, more attractive nails. They know that the benefit of taking biotin for stronger nails has been supported by several studies. In one study, participates with brittle nails were given 2.5 mg daily for 10 weeks to 7 months. Stronger nails with less splitting were reported by 67 percent of the subjects.
3. Healthier Hair
Since hair is basically composed of the same substance as nails, a tough protein called alpha-keratin, it stands to good reason that biotin can also improve hair. It’s been associated with an increase in hair growth and stronger, healthier hair. A deficiency in biotin may even lead to hair loss. Therefore, biotin can be an alternative treatment for hair loss or thinning hair with split ends.
4. Improves Skin
Although biotin’s role in skin health isn’t clear, it is known that a deficiency can cause red, scaly skin in addition to the following skin conditions:
- Seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap)
- Overall itchiness
The role of biotin in healthy skin is possibly because of its effect on metabolism. This process may be impaired in those with biotin deficiency. Also, all the B vitamins are important for a properly functioning nervous system and hormonal function which also play a role in keeping skin healthy.
5. Benefits Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have an increased need for biotin. It’s thought that a deficiency occurs because their bodies break down biotin faster. It’s estimated that as many as half of all pregnant women will have a slight deficiency of this important B vitamin. It’s a major concern since animal studies have linked a deficiency to birth defects. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take care to make sure they are getting adequate biotin. A doctor or nutritionist should be consulted before taking any supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
6. Regulates Blood Sugar
People with type 2 diabetes have impaired insulin function and high levels of blood sugar. Researchers found that the concentration of biotin in the blood is lower in these individuals than healthier people. Several well-controlled studies found that when combined with the mineral chromium, biotin lowers blood sugar.
7. Relief From Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious autoimmune disorder in which a protective sheath called myelin that covers nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes becomes damaged or deteriorates. Researchers think biotin is important in the production of myelin. More studies are needed, but controlled trials have shown promise for the use of high doses of biotin for MS patients. In fact, in a pilot study involving 23 patients, 90 percent showed a degree of improvement.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that excess amounts are excreted in the urine. Mega-doses up to 300 milligrams are considered safe. If you are suffering from any of the above health problems, it makes sense to try biotin. However, if you’re taking thyroid medication, you should consult your doctor.